Village Fayre

Committee made up of enthusiastic residents of the village, dedicated to coordinating and running the Annual Village Fayre and Dog Show. A traditional annual Summer Event put on by the Committee and many wonderful volunteers. We aim to provide a fun event whilst fundraising for community projects, clubs, societies etc. New members are always welcome. Join us at one of our meetings, please see our contact details below.

Activity Address Hadlow Down Playing Field
Contacts Sarah Prall and Lally Drake   –   Co-Chairmen
Address Sarah Prall, Waghorns,Waghorns Lane. Hadlow Down TN22 4EB
Lally Drake, Brick Kiln Farm, Brick Kiln Lane. Hadlow Down TN22 4EJ
Telephone 01825 830373
Email or

Neil Kempson

It is with extreme sadness that we report the passing of Neil Kempson yesterday.
Neil was a much loved member of the Hadlow Down community and will be sadly missed by all.  His association with the New Inn, St. Mark’s School, the Village Fayres and everything else ‘Hadlow Down’ made him a ‘special’ villager. We are sure that the thoughts of everyone who knew Neil will be with Di and all his family

A look back at the Village Fayre 2019

As the Covid 19 pandemic has scuppered plans for our Summer Celebrations, it seemed now would be the perfect time to look back on our historic 2019 Village Fayre.

The Sussex Village of Hadlow Down has been holding summer celebratory events for well over one hundred years. The Village Fayre and Dog Show in its current format has been going since 2003 and is held at the Playing Field.

Previously it was held at The Grange and in the early days in the Churchyard. Nigel Harrison, born in 1947, remembers the Church Fete at the Grange had stalls down one side of the lawn and games down the other. The children would perform country dancing and there was always a fancy dress competition.

Last Summer we celebrated 100 years since the Village Peace Day celebration held in July 1919. There was a very moving moment when we recreated the Village Photograph 100 years to the day later.

When Vicky Richards asked Lally and me to support the “Hadlow Down Remembers” exhibition, we jumped at the chance. Our research led to us discover a great deal about the history of the village. The Village Trust kindly gave us access to their archives and that is how we discovered the Peace Day photographs taken at the Grange on 19th July 1919. As soon as we saw them we knew that the Village Fayre was the perfect event to commemorate that original celebration.

Peace Day 1919

To celebrate and mark the end of World War 1, a Bank Holiday was declared in Britain, having been decided by a committee chaired by Lord Curzon, foreign secretary.

‘We, considering that, with a view to the more wide-spread and general celebration of the Conclusion of Peace, it is desirable that Saturday, the Nineteenth day of July, should be observed as a Bank Holiday and as a Public Holiday throughout the United Kingdom’

Thanks to the wonderful research carried out by Colin Cracknell, we have the details of an article published in the Sussex Agricultural Express, 18th July 1919 detailing the Peace Day Party planned in our village.

A programme for all residing in Hadlow Down who served, or are serving for H.M Forces; plus their wives.

2.15 – Thanksgiving Service
2.30 – Sports for children and adults
4.30 – Tea for children
5.15 – Tea for adults

Sports, dancing, fancy dress will follow until 9.30. Then we hope to have a torchlight procession and conclude with a bonfire and firework display

Proceedings to be held at Hadlow Grange kindly lent by Mr C Lang Huggins. J.P.

The similarity between the two events held 100 years apart is amazing to us, we didn’t see this article until after the 2019 event. In fact it seems the 1919 celebration was an amalgamation of all our favourite village events – the fayre, big village party and the bonfire celebrations.

The Village Fayre is held on the Playing Field. It is a glorious spot perched as we are on a ridge that forms part of the High Weald. The view from the tea tent is sublime as you gaze beyond the cricket pavilion to Ashdown Forest beyond. We are lucky enough to own our own vintage canvas marquees, these are the centre piece of the event. They house our glorious tea tent and bar respectively.

Over the years Lally and I have massed a trove of props and vintage fabrics that we use to decorate the structures. Super-size lampshades hang from the rafter poles and the tables are decorated with tea cups planted up with summer bedding plants. The Committee agrees a theme for the event at the beginning of the year and then Lally and I set about sourcing new props to support the new theme. We trawl charity shops, flea markets and the local recycling centres! It is such a thrill when we uncover a new “treasure”.

The event radiates out from the tea tent and bar, a temporary circular encampment that encloses the main arena. The arena is edged with hay bales for seating and demarked with metres and metres of homemade bunting. Sitting here you might catch a glimpse of fabric that was a dress in a previous life or an offcut from a child’s bedroom curtains.


Sussex Beer is served from a vintage Shepherds Hut next to the main marquees and we love to create beautiful seating areas for relaxing in. We like to build sofas from hay bales and last year we went the whole hog and set up an outdoor sitting room with sofa, armchair and coffee table, our friends at Wilderness Wood made us bespoke chestnut poles and stands to that we could swag bunting overhead.

The stalls are all housed in smaller gazebos, and are comprised of other village committees and societies plus hand-picked local businesses. We give a prize for the best dressed stall, fortunately everyone is wonderfully enthusiastic about supporting our event themes! The stalls are grouped in categories, we have an area dedicated to local food producers. Then crafts and artists. We like to support the other Village societies. The School and Church are also key to the event.

The 2019 event was opened by Father David Milnes who gave this lovely blessing specially written for the occasion…

Father of all, remember your holy promise, and look with love on all your people, living and departed. On this day we especially ask that you would hold for ever all who suffered during the First World War, those who returned scarred by warfare, those who waited anxiously at home, those who returned wounded,  and disillusioned, those who mourned and those whose communities were diminished and suffered loss. Remember too those who acted with kindly compassion, those who risked their own lives for their comrades, and those who in the aftermath of war, worked tirelessly for a more peaceful world. And as you remember them, remember us, O Lord; grant us peace in our time and a longing for the day when people of every language and nation will be brought into the unity of Christ’s kingdom.

We have tried to recreate that special day 100 years ago when this village came together to mark the end of war and not only that have we gathered here 100 years after that proclamation and hope for peace which is still ours. We ask your blessing on this day and all people of peace and unity – The peace of God which passes all understanding. Keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God.

The Heathfield band then struck up and accompanied as we sang the National anthem followed by a particularly poignant rendition of Jerusalem, sung simply by the village unacompanied.

Then the main arena events followed, wonderfully steered by our friend Bob Lake.


Programme of events 2019

1.00 pm –  Village Photograph taken in front of Tea Tent, Blessing by Father David Milnes, Heathfield Silver Band will play National Anthem

1.15 pm – Heathfield Silver Band will perform in the Bandstand

1.30 pm – Dog Show Agility qualifying in Dog Show Ring, please register to enter

1.45 pm – The School will perform a traditional Maypole Dance in the main Arena

2.00 pm – Sports Day in the Main Arena

                                Father and Child Sack Race

                                Mother and Child 3 legged Race

                                Egg and Spoon Race

                                Egg Hatching

2.00 pm – Ukulele Duo perform in the Pimms and Prosecco Bar

2.30 pm – Homefront Lindyhop perform in Main Arena

3.00 pm – Heathfield Silver Band Perform in the Bandstand

3.30 pm – Dog Show in Main Arena

4.30 pm – Tug O War

4.50 pm – Grand Prize Draw

5.00 pm – Fayre Closes

It was a glorious afternoon…The Village came out in force and many took the trouble to dress up.  Such a very proud and poignant day for for all involved, perhaps in 100 years our photograph will be inspiring the next generations to do the same!

I was very touched to receive some lovely and thought provoking feedback from one of our regular stall holders, Judith.

“It looked so pretty with those tall jars of flowers every where, and flowers round tent poles and pretty table cloths etc. Without fail the community enjoyed themselves you could see evidence of that. To say nothing of peoples enthusiastic comments as to me as they browsed.

Members of my family ( London based ) are involved in research in mental health…town versus country.  It seems very evident that Community Events such as yesterday are vital. Yet men and women are so busy these days that they/we say we don’t have time to help. But there is a great feel good factor in helping isn’t there? Also joining in with the great body of mankind is so good for us……”


My hearty thanks must  go to the Committee members, past and present. They are wonderful selfless unsung heroes, every single one of them.
All the societies and committees in the village have supported the event over the years, Particularly the Playing Field, Variety Club and Horticultural Society. To the inimitable Bob Lake who MC’s for us with so much charm and humour. His dog show commentary lives long in the memory!
Whilst it is becoming harder to find volunteers to help put on these traditional events and trickier still to meet all the new rules and regulations involved, I firmly believe in the power of sharing wonderful moments with the whole Community. Preserving our local traditions, observing the seasons as they change and holding fast to our regional peculiarities.
Its about making our Village celebrations even more colourful, thrilling, entertaining and memorable. The rewards are many, not least seeing our family, friends and neighbours participation and enthusiasm.
It is a real privilege to be part of something bigger than ourselves, to connect with one another and take a day to be with the whole village. There is a palpable sense of place, of who we are and how unique we are. We are so proud to have played our part in this time old tradition where all are welcome to join in and the currency is joy!
Sarah Prall

VE Day 75 in pictures

“our streets are not empty, they are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other”.

Just before 11 am, on Friday 8th May at St.Marks Church,  Richard Boswell  stood in the church yard and played The Last Post  and the Reveille.

Keith Edwards fired a Maroon to mark the beginning and end of the two minute silence.

At approximately 11.05 am Richard began to play We’ll Meet Again… Anne and Chris Yarrow spontaneously started to dance. Thanks to Keith filming it we can join in too…

The Queen’s speech was perfect and poignant, in the broadcast, she said:

“Today it may seem hard that we cannot mark this special anniversary as we would wish.”

“Instead we remember from our homes and from our doorsteps.”

It aired exactly 75 years on from her father King George VI’s address at the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Thanking the wartime generation, the Queen, 94, said: “They risked all so our families and neighbourhoods could be safe.”

“We should and will remember them.”

This year’s celebration has been limited due to the lockdown conditions in place across Europe because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite this, the Queen said, “our streets are not empty, they are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other”.

“And when I look at our country today and see what we are willing to do to protect and support one another, I say with pride that we are still a nation those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen would recognise and admire.”

we would love to share your drawings, poems and photographs

If you would like to be featured in our VE Day gallery please contact

With grateful thanks to Anne Yarrow, Beverly Williams, Conchita Landa-Font, Judi Lampon, Julian Turner, Keith Edwards, Lucy Mcconachie, Peter Smythe, Richard Boswell, Roberta Smythe, Sam Fake, Sarah Prall, Tracey Boorman

Peace Day 100

We do hope you will join us to celebrate 100 years since the Village celebrated Peace Day
on 19th July 1919 at The Grange.

Last year, whilst working on the Hadlow Down Remembers Project, we discovered this wonderful photograph.

The Village came together to celebrate the end of the 1st World War. There was singing, games, dressing up and a tea tent!

With your help we would like to recreate this wonderful photograph at
1pm at the Fayre on July 20th.

The Fayre will be lovely traditional affair at the Playing Field. You can expect our gorgeous traditional Tea Tent, The Shepherds Rest and Bah, our Pimms and Prosecco bar, Barbecue, Ice Cream, and the Fun Dog Show is back, there will be lots of Local Produce, Plants, Beautiful Stalls, Games and more! Our village societies will be well represented by the Playing Field Committee, the Drama and Variety Club as well as the Horticultural Society.

We are absolutely thrilled The Heathfield Silver Band will be playing, kicking the Fayre off in rousing fashion at 1pm. Homefront Lindy Hop will be performing in the main arena and the children from St. Mark’s School are treating us to a traditional maypole dance. There will be a Sing Along and a Ukulele duo in the Tea Tent. In addition our ever popular Fun Dog Show and Agility Competition are back, look out for more details on our FB page.


We will take the official group photographs at the beginning of the event. If you join us for this we will assume you give consent to appear in the photograph. The photographs will appear on the Village Website, FB page and in the Parish Magazine. We will continue to take official photographs at the event but will focus on capturing the essence of the day and not take portraits of individuals unless they have given prior consent.

We love dressing up but it’s not obligatory! We know some of you will pull out all the stops and dress in period outfits or in vintage uniform, that would be wonderful…but please just come as you are if dressing up is not your thing. We hope that some of you will take cues from the original photograph, boys in Peaky Blinders style…shirts, waistcoats and caps. Girls in white with straw hats or we would love to see Nurses, Land girls, Officers…we will be giving out commemorative rosettes to the best turned out on the day.

There will be an impromptu Sing Along in the afternoon in the Tea Tent

The Dog Show and Agility competition will be running. Please come along with your dog and register for classes at the Gazebo by the Agility Area. Details and times of classes will be listed in the programme and on our Facebook page.

The Children’s Treasure Hunt and races in the main arena will be running. There are prizes and rosettes to be won


The Bake Off challenge is back. Can you bake a cake for our CAKE STALL? We plan to award the winner of the most beautifully decorated cake one of our limited edition Bake Off aprons, there will be rosettes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places plus a separate class for under 16s. All cakes will then be sold to raise money for the Village. For more details see our FB page.

We need Bottles for our BOTTLE STALL, can you donate a bottle or two, alcohol and or soft drinks? Please contact Lally – or we will collecting door to door two weeks before the Fayre.

Would you or your business like to Sponsor one of our events/games? Please contact Sarah

Would you be available to shake a bucket and Sell Programmes and Raffle Tickets for an hour or two? Please contact Lally –

As you know Our Village Fayre is a wonderfully happy and celebratory event. If you would like to join us in helping to arrange this much loved Community Day please contact Sarah or Lally

Join us for The Big Village Party on Saturday!

Preparations are well underway for the Big Village Party 2, we do hope you can join us at the Playing Field this Saturday.

Entry is free to all. There’s lots to do for all the family.

Our theme is Festival Colour… we hope to see all the colours of the rainbow…feel free to dress up! Sparkles, feathers and sequins or fancy dress are very much the order of the day but not obligatory!

Kidsfest activities kick off at 4pm ~ football skills, face painting, ice creams, hair feathering, bouncy castle and more…

Memory Man will be running a Circus Skills Workshop at 4pm followed by his incredible Live Show. This performance is made possible by Applause Rural Touring.

Food will be served from 5.30-9.30pm we have a selection of gourmet burgers, hot dogs, halloumi burgers and a veggie curry. Plus local strawberries and cream and or ice creams.

Live music Line Up
5.30pm Jason Lines
6.30pm India Brown and Yaron Ash
7.30pm Folkstack Lightnin’
8.30pm Groove Hoover
9.40pm Phoenix Fires

Don’t miss our Rodeo Sheep ride! We look forward to seeing you there…